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Headlines for Tuesday, September 6, 2022



UPDATE: KBI Reveals New Evidence in Great Bend's Dolly Madison Bakery Murders

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and the Great Bend Police Department announced new evidence today (TUE) in an unsolved double murder that took place in Great Bend 20 years ago. KWCH TV reports that Cory Latham, the KBI Special Agent in Charge, said the investigative team completed a review of all the physical evidence collected in the case, then assessed the potential for further results using forensic technologies that have had significant advancements since the killings. Latham then announced that the team had discovered DNA from a man on a sample collected from the body of one of the victims. The team has not yet found any matches to that DNA among the samples that have been taken for comparison, but will continue to pursue the lead. On September 4, 2002, two women were found dead at the Dolly Madison bakery outlet store - 24-year-old Mandi Alexander, a store employee, and 79-year-old Mary Drake, a customer. Today's (TUE) announcement came near the 20th anniversary of the double homicide. The KBI is offering a $17,000 reward for an arrest and conviction in the case. Anyone with information should report it online or call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME. 

(–AP Version–) 

Investigators: New DNA Recovered in 20-Year-Old Kansas Double Murder

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — Kansas law enforcement officials say they have recovered a small amount of DNA they hope will eventually provide a breakthrough in the double murders of two Kansas women 20 years ago. Kansas Bureau of Investigation special agent Cody Latham said in a news conference Tuesday that DNA from a male was collected from the body of either 24-year-old Mandi Alexander or 79-year-old Mary Drake. The women were killed on Sept. 4, 2002, at a Dolly Madison Bakery outlet in Great Bend. Latham says there is not enough DNA to put it into a national database of criminal offenders, but the DNA could still provide a vital clue.


3 Arrested Following Kansas School Threat 

MADISON, Kan. (WIBW) –  Three people were arrested Sunday following a threat to a Kansas school. WIBW reports that the threat was posted to social media along with a picture of a firearm. According to the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office, officials were made aware on Sunday of a threat against a local school posted on social media on Saturday, September 3. The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with local officials, and found that the suspect was a teenager from Madison. The sheriff's office said that a search warrant was executed, and a pellet gun believed to be the one photographed for the social media post, was found. A 15-year-old was arrested for allegedly making a criminal threat. Two adult residents of the home were arrested on unrelated alleged drug distribution charges. Officials said there is no ongoing threat to the school or the public.


KC Police Investigate Body Found Along I-435 as Hit-and-Run

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMBC) — Police are investigating after they said a vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian along Interstste 435 in Kansas City over the weekend. KMBC TV reports that officers got the call Sunday morning after a driver saw a body in the median of northbound I-435 at Gregory. Kansas City police officers are still working to determine the exact time of the hit and run. It could have been early Sunday or Saturday night.  Police shut down northbound I-435 at 87th Street and southbound I-435 at Gregory while gathering evidence. Officers later reopened the interstate after completing the initial investigation. Police do not have any suspect or vehicle information at this time but say the vehicle likely has front-end damage. Anyone with information is urged to call the Crimestoppers Tips Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.


Kansas Man Arrested for Indecent Liberties with Child in Brown County

BROWN COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) - A Kansas man has been arrested for indecent liberties with a child in Brown County. After an investigation by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, 44-year-old Darin Lierz, of Fairview, was arrested Friday on four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14. WIBW TV reports that Lierz was being held in the Brown County Jail on a bond of $200,000.


Lawrence Police Search for Man on the Run Following Pursuit and Crash

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) – Lawrence police are still searching for a man who took off and almost hit an officer with his car, led them on a high-speed pursuit down I-70, crashed and then ran into the woods. Police say it all began around 3 pm Sunday when officers were called to a Lawrence car wash (in the 1000 Block of North 3rd Street). Someone called because the man was sleeping in his running car. Officers called for medical help after they noticed he was breathing but not responding. The man eventually woke up, would not cooperate with officers, and quickly hit the gas - almost hitting one of the officers. The suspect entered I-70 eastbound where speeds reached more than 100 mph, then eventually hit spike strips positioned by a Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) trooper. The driver kept driving on two rims until he struck a middle barrier at mile marker 213. The car came to a stop slightly off the shoulder and the suspect fled on foot southbound into thick brush and woods. The vehicle was reported stolen out of Overland Park. A search of the vehicle revealed suspected illegal drugs to include marijuana, heroin, miscellaneous pills, a handgun and miscellaneous ammunition and extended magazines. Multiple K9's assisted with the search along with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and KHP air support. The suspect remains at large.


Former Chiefs Assistant Coach Expected to Plead Guilty in 2021 Injury Car Crash 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KC Star) – Britt Reid, a former assistant coach for the Kansas City Chiefs football team, is expected to plead guilty next week (September 12) to charges connected with his involvement in a multi-vehicle car crash that severely injured a 5-year-old child. The Kansas City Star reports that Reid is expected to plead guilty Monday to felony driving while intoxicated and causing the crash. Reid, who is 37, would likely avoid a criminal trial that was scheduled to begin September 26 in Jackson County Circuit Court. He could face up to seven years in prison. The crash occurred in February of 2021, when Reid's pickup truck struck two vehicles on the side of an Interstate 435 entrance ramp near the team's practice facility. Two children were injured, including one who suffered a traumatic brain injury. Reid is the son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. The Kansas City Chiefs and the family of Ariel Young reached a confidential financial agreement late last year to cover the costs of her ongoing medical treatment and other expenses. The crash took place days before the Chiefs lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. 

(–AP Version–)

Ex-Chiefs Assistant Britt Reid to Enter Plea in Crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid is scheduled to enter a guilty plea to felony driving while intoxicated charges related to a car crash that seriously injured a young girl. Jackson County Circuit Court online records show Reid, the son of Chiefs coach Andy Reid, is scheduled to plead guilty on Monday. He was set to go to trial Sept. 26. Reid was charged after police said he was speeding and intoxicated when he hit two stopped cars on an entrance ramp near Arrowhead Stadium in February 2021. A girl in one of the cars, Ariel Young, suffered a traumatic brain injury. Reid faces up to seven years in prison.


People Report Seeing UFOs in Kansas City-Area Skies

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Large, unidentified flying objects were spotted over cities in the Kansas City area last month, according to MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network. According to the nonprofit group, three witnesses reported seeing the same large object in the sky from two separate locations. WDAF TV reports that Garry Yoakum was one of the witnesses.  In the early morning hours of August 10, Yoakum saw something strange in the sky over his Smithville, Missouri home. He said the sky was dark and he wasn’t able to make out any sort of shape of the object, but he estimated that it was at least a quarter mile long. He distinctly remembers seeing windows on the craft. “It was illuminated on the inside so I couldn’t see the shape of it,” he said.  Another couple told MUFON that they also saw the object early on the morning of August 10. The husband and wife both reported seeing a large disk-shaped craft with rectangular windows on the side flying low in the sky at a slow speed. They said the object made no sounds and had no wings or tail and gave off no emissions. Then, on the morning of August 27, a truck driver in Cameron, Missouri spotted what appeared to be the same object. He told MUFON that the object was extremely large with rectangular windows lit from the inside with with no exterior lights. “It was at least the size of three football fields and flying so low and slow, that I couldn’t understand how it was flying,” the witness told MUFON.


Calls to Kansas Suicide Crisis Hotline Increase After Launch of 988 Number

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KNS) - Calls to Kansas suicide crisis hotlines are up following the launch of a three-digit 988 hotline. The Johnson County Mental Health Center is one of three centers that answer 988 calls in the state. It’s seen more than a 20% increase in calls since the new number launched in mid-July. Rob MacDougall is the center’s director of emergency services. He says call volume has been increasing for years and the launch came with money that’s helping them staff up. "And so it was really good timing and we’ve been able to get new physicians and expand the number of folks answering calls," he said. “We were at about 17,600 calls in 2017, and we’re barreling towards 40,000 calls this year," MacDougall said.  Part of the jump, he says, is because people face less stigma dealing with mental health problems. Wichita’s Comcare Center saw a 30% jump in calls after the 988 launch. And the Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ in Lawrence, which handles calls from across the state, saw a 50% jump.


Wichita Gets $51 Million Federal Grant to Boost Manufacturing

WICHITA, Kan. (KNS/KMUW) - Wichita State University and a coalition of government and business leaders say a $51 million federal grant will help boost manufacturing in south-central Kansas. The coalition is among 21 applicants across the U.S. to receive a grant. They intend to use it to strengthen aerospace production. Debbie Franklin, associate vice president of strategic initiatives at WSU, said "the vision of this initiative is to empower equitable adoption of productivity-enhancing, emerging technologies for sustainable precision manufacturing, competitiveness, and of course, profitability.” Franklin says a bulk of the money will go toward implementing smart manufacturing at regional production facilities. That includes new technology and training, and a $26 million-dollar training facility at WSU. Smart manufacturing relies on computers and information technology to improve manufacturing processes and make them more flexible.


Total Kansas Tax Receipts in August $23.5 Million More than Last August

TOPEKA, Kan. (KPR) – Total tax receipts in Kansas for the month of August were $652.5 million. That's $11.2 million more than the estimate and $23.5 million more than August of last year. Governor Laura Kelly touted the new numbers saying Kansas had met or exceeded revenue estimates for the 25th consecutive month. Individual income tax collections were $307.3 million. Corporate income tax collections were $15.5 million. August retail sales tax collections were $239.6 million.


Kansas Congresswoman Touts Federal Funds to Replace Lead Pipes

WYANDOTTE COUNTY, Kan. (KCUR) - Kansas Congresswoman Sharice Davids is touting federal funds for lead service line replacement going toward communities most impacted by lead poisoning.  The Democratic representative said the bipartisan infrastructure bill approved last year only permits funding to be used in certain census tracts. Parts of Olathe will qualify, as will all of Wyandotte County, Davids said. The bill allocates $15 billion nationwide to replace lead service lines. Utilities don’t always know their locations. However, recently updated EPA rules require utilities to take inventory of the estimated 5 to 10 million lead lines nationwide by October 2024.


CDC Recommends Face Mask Use for 13 Kansas Counties

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The number of Kansas counties where masks are recommended indoors has dropped by half this week.  KSNW TV reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts together a map of counties considered at a high level of community transmission. Last week, 26 Kansas counties were in the high category. This week, only 13 are. They include: Barton, Cherokee, Decatur, Doniphan, Edwards, Graham, Grant, Pawnee, Rush, Sheridan, Stafford, Stanton and Wilson counties.  The CDC recommends that people who live in these counties wear masks when indoors in public. Last week, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that 5,748 Kansans tested positive for the coronavirus and that 209 Kansans were hospitalized with COVID-19.


Farm Progress Show in Iowa Draws Crowd from Across the Nation

BOONE, Iowa (HPM) - The Farm Progress Show, billed as the largest outdoor farm event in the nation, wrapped up in Boone, Iowa, last week. The event highlights new ag technology, but with inflation and high costs, farmers say they’re watching their money. Dan Hanson farms corn and soybeans near Fort Dodge, Iowa. He’s interested in new technology, like a strip till machine that could cut fertilizer and fuel costs. Hanson says the high costs of farm inputs like fertilizer and fuel weighs into his purchase decisions.
"You have to limit what you can buy, but you got to keep up to date on some of them because the future is changing. And it's always been changing in farming," he said. "So, you got to look where your money would be best spent when you have limited amount of money to spend." Harvest Public Media reports that more than 600 vendors and exhibitors attended this year's show to market their products and tech to the nation's farmers. The event alternates between Illinois and Iowa.


Midwest Ag Firms Replace Local Teens with Migrant Workers for Corn Field Work

UNDATED (KNS/Midwest Newsroom) - For decades, Midwest teenagers have been hired by seed companies to walk fields of corn and help out with the pollination in a process called detasseling. It’s fondly seen as a local rite of passage. But an investigation by the Midwest Newsroom found seed companies have posted jobs to avoid teenagers and opt for migrant workers instead. New advances in herbicides and plant breeding over the years meant Monsanto needed fewer people to detassel corn. And of those fewer people Monsanto used, more of them were migrant workers. ( Read more.)


Kansas History Museum Under Renovation

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS) - The Kansas Museum of History in Topeka begins its first major renovation in its nearly four-decade history this week. The Kansas News Service reports that the renovation will give museum staff time to dismantle and document the hundreds of artifacts in the museum collection. The workers will also redesign the exhibits to make them more interactive. And to tell a fuller story of the people who call Kansas home. Acting executive director Patrick Zollner says the work is expected to take about a year and a half. “It's been over 38 years. So, what we would like to do is better tell the stories of Kansas history utilizing current technology," he said. Video and photo updates of the renovation will be posted on the Kansas Historical Society’s social media accounts throughout the process.


Missouri Renews K-State Rivalry with Non-Conference Match-Up

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — It’s been more than a decade since Missouri and Kansas State played each other in football. On Saturday, the longtime conference rivals will finally meet again in an important out-of-conference game. The Tigers are coming off a season-opening win over Louisiana Tech while the Wildcats are fresh off a blowout of South Dakota. But along with improving to 2-0, the winner also earns some important bragging rights, particularly on the recruiting trail. The game means a lot to players and coaches as well as fans, many of whom still remember the days when Missouri and Kansas State met every year.


These area headlines are curated by KPR news staffers, including J. Schafer, Laura Lorson, Kaye McIntyre, and Tom Parkinson. Our headlines are generally posted by 10 am weekdays, 11 am weekends. This news summary is made possible by KPR listener-members.  Become one today. And follow  KPR News on Twitter.